Saturday, August 28, 2010

Seniors are flocking to Facebook

A recent article in the San Jose Mercury News noted that people over 50 are responsible for the growing popularity of Facebook and other social network media. A Pew Research study found that 47% of Americans aged 50- 64 and 13% over 65 are using social networks.

This ought to be good news for churches. Facebook has many benefits for churches as a tool to create community and attract new people to your church.
      1. It is free.
      2. It can be updated anywhere from any computer.
      3. Multiple administrators can do the updating.
      4. It can be linked to your website and blog.
      5. You can easily post video and photos.

The Baptist Temple Facebook page has connected our friends and members from around the world including those in military service, missionaries, college students. People are reminded of upcoming events. Photos of those events can be posted even as they happen. Links to updates to our prayer list and blog and the latest newsletter are posted, as well.

The most important feature is that people can interact with the site. They can post comments, comment on others' comments, or simply indicate that they “like” the posting. This characteristic makes Facebook superior to static web pages where communication is one way.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meeting physical and spiritual needs

A pastor recently told me that the role of the church is to provide spiritual nurture exclusively. He did not believe that the church ought to have day cares or food pantries nor allow such groups to share space. Some believe that ministry to the physical needs of a person interferes with ministry to spiritual needs.

On the other hand, Jesus found a way to do both. He fed the multitudes and called Himself the Bread of Life. He healed the sick and cast out demons. The Old Testament is filled with commands related to that care of the less fortunate.

The Bible says about Jesus, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:19-20

It is possible to tend to physical needs and ignore the spiritual but the Bible commands us to do both.

“If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:16

There are many churches in urban centers that are weak and dying. Some have soup kitchens and clothing distribution but fail to produce changed lives because they don't address the need for supernatural change. Others will focus on the supernatural but fail to reach a skeptical audience by ignoring the poverty, addiction and crime around them. The result in both cases is darkness and despair.

The light of the gospel will result in prisoners set free from their addictions, families reconciled, cycles of poverty broken by the power of Christ's work on the cross. That requires real help from the church and the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes...Romans 1:16

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You've got the time

As Baptists, we claim to be people of "the Book” but too many Christians have never read through the New Testament. Few Christians spend enough time with the Bible to let it meaningfully impact our lives. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is providing audio New Testaments to its churches so that, together, we will be more deeply formed in Christ likeness and more committed to our mission of redemption in the world.

Baptist Temple will be distributing these audio Bibles on September 5th. We are asking our members and friends to commit 28 minutes each day to listening to the Bible over the next 40 days. The Bible says, "the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword..." (Hebrews 4:12)

Listening to the Bible together will have a deep impact on each of us as individuals and together as a church. God tells us (Isaiah 55:11) that His Word will not return empty but will accomplish His will.

The format of the audio Bible is MP3. This is the most common digital audio file and will play in your computer, your cars CD player (if it is marked MP3) or your DvD player.

The audio Bible is a dramatized English Standard version of the New Testament. It is also available in Spanish in the dramatized NIV. Children will receive the Kidz Audio Bible filled with songs and exciting dramatized stories.

You can download the free audio Bible here.